The first time I remember opening a Bible, I was 20 years old. I started at the beginning and by the time I got through Genesis chapter four I was done. I didn’t understand why now that the people knew the difference between good and evil… all they did was evil. Fast forward a couple of years and my Bible was open again. Life had roughed me up and I was desperate for help. Neighbors shared the Good News of Jesus with me, and new life was born in the backseat of a Subaru. I went home under orders to read the book of John, with a booklet that described the Four Spiritual Laws, and an assurance that this did not make me religious.
When I opened my Bible this time, I found Jesus. But this Jesus from the book of John, seemed harsh to me. I read the book of John, and then stumbled into Isaiah. It was in the ancient words of the prophet that I first found Words of Life.
Come now, let’s settle this,”
says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
I will make them as white as snow.
Though they are red like crimson,
I will make them white as wool.
Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child?
Can she feel no love for the child she has born?
But even if that were possible,
I would not forget you!
See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands
For the mountains may move
and the hills disappear,
but even then my faithful love for you will remain.
My covenant of blessing will never be broken.”
says the Lord, who has mercy on you.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me,
for the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
and to proclaim that captives will be released
and prisoners will be freed.
He has sent me to tell those who mourn
that the time of the Lord’s favor has come,
and with it, the day of God’s anger agains their enemies.
To all who mourn in Israel,
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of turning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like
great oaks that the Lord planted for his own glory.
Over the years, the Word of Life has brought me comfort and solace in times of anguish and loss. It has challenged my perceptions of myself and the world around me. The scriptures have pierced my heart and brought me to my knees in repentance and grief. They have also lifted my head after years of shame. Words that once just lay on the page, as I struggled to make sense of battles, armies, generations, and foreign names, now hold space in my heart, making sense of my past, fortifying me for today, and preparing me for the journey ahead.
What are the Words of Life you are holding tight to today? Take a minute to comment below by writing out a verse and what it means to you today.